Homeowners insurance helps protect your investment in the event that fire, hail, a tornado, a burst pipe or other unexpected circumstances damage or destroy your home or possessions — and it’s a lifesaver for many. Approximately one in 15 insured homes has a claim each year, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
It’ll be too late to increase your coverage after disaster strikes, so it’s important to take stock of your policy and determine whether you need to purchase additional coverage. But how much homeowners insurance do you really need? Here are six questions to consider when evaluating whether your policy provides the protection you need:
1. How much would it cost to rebuild?
Your lender requires you to have enough insurance to cover the mortgage but that amount might not be enough if a disaster decimates your home. When determining how much coverage you may need keep in mind factors like how much it would cost to rebuild, local construction costs, square footage and material and purchase a coverage amount that makes sense for you.
2. What is the value of your stuff?
Your policy includes coverage to replace personal possessions that are stolen or damaged. Conduct a home inventory and make a detailed list of your belongings (take photos, too) and keep a running tally of their approximate value. Your contents coverage should reflect the value of your belongings.
3. Do I need extra coverage?
Most homeowners insurance policies provide limited coverage for extras like collectibles and jewelry. Ask your insurer whether you’ll need to add a rider to cover special items.
4. How much liability is enough?
Liability insurance protects your assets in the event of a lawsuit. If someone in your family, including your pet, causes injuries or property damage to others, liability insurance may cover the claim. Your Farm Bureau agent can offer advice on whether purchasing extra liability insurance is a good idea.
5. Is umbrella coverage a good idea?
Umbrella insurance provides an extra layer of protection in the event of a lawsuit. This affordable coverage kicks in after court judgments or settlements exceed the liability coverage provided through a homeowners insurance policy.
6. Where will I live if my home is damaged?
Check the coverage for “additional living expenses” provided in your policy. ALE coverage covers the increased cost of temporary living expenses, if you’re forced to move out of your home. Consider the length of coverage (some policies cap coverage at a certain number of days).
Reviewing your homeowners insurance policy — and making changes as needed — could help keep you from having a costly claim denied or suffering financial loss associated with inadequate coverage.